Help! My 3rd Grader Doesn’t Like to WriteMarch 3, 2021
Guest post by Kimberly Smith.
The other day I was looking over my homeschool emails and saw a post about not putting too much pressure on writing. It was not about handwriting, but about writing in general. The comment made was that we often expect too much and that we need to make sure that our children are capable of what is being asked to be written. This was a great reminder for me, because my son does not enjoy writing stories, journal entries, much less book reports. He is only 8-years-old and I needed to remember that we have plenty of time to grow his talents in writing. Plus he is still learning to spell and that causes him frustration when he has to keep asking how to spell words as he tries to write.
I know the public school system expects a lot out of their students starting right in kindergarten. This is an unrealistic expectation and I have talked with countless parents who struggle to help their children with writing. Mostly because it takes years to learn grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and to be able to put one’s thoughts down on paper.
Explore Writing In Small Steps
So I have and am taking a different approach. For kindergarten through 3rd everything was/is dictation or copy work. He has to learn the right way to write sentences and spell words. During this time we really focus on grammar and sentence structure. It has only been this year that he has started to write his own sentences and only a few at a time. They often don’t flow so this is when we work together to learn how to make his thoughts flow. I am doing most of the writing, which he copies.
He loves poetry because it follows different rules and doesn’t require lots of sentences. Evan Moore has lots of poetry and writing starters for elementary grades. Right now we use their poetry books and a series called “Draw Then Write.” He learns how to draw something then he writes a few sentences about. This is right at his skill level. Next school year we are going to work on writing different types of book reports and learn to use story bubbles. All these resources can be found online for free.
I don’t want him to feel overwhelmed and not ever want to write. I want to teach him the value of writing and that it can be fun at the same time. There will be plenty of time for research papers, short stories, and journaling when he hits middle/ high school. Until then we will continue to concentrate on learning to spell, grammar rules, and sentence structure and I will continue to write his words down for him to copy until he feels confident to do it himself.
Customize The Writing Program
You know your child best and what their writing ability is. Some children love writing right from the start. My daughter was like this. She was writing stories and poems in kindergarten on her own. She loves writing and is majoring in college with a degree in creative writing. My other child has major learning disabilities and writing was not an option. He had to dictate everything and copy even through high school. I found a computer program called The Dragon that allowed him to dictate to his computer and would write down his words. He is doing online college and uses a program like this to help him write papers.
Remember: Homeschooling Is Flexible!
This is the beauty of homeschooling. You decide what and how to do things. You determine the goals and figure out the best ways to meet them. Not the school district or even the government. Only you and as long as you are moving forward even if it is at a snail pace you are doing fine and your children are learning.
More About the Author
Kimberly Smith is a religious homeschool mom of 4 children with three of those in college! Kim and her family enjoy fostering children, were thrilled to adopt their seven-year-old through fostering, and are now homeschooling again! Kim has had over 17 years of homeschool experience including the privilege to homeschool a child with serious learning disabilities as well as a gifted child. Kim and her husband of 26 years have gone through many ups and downs with their children as well as in life. Job losses, frequent moves, and the challenge of loving a child through rebellion have been a part of their growth and give Kimberly the insight to touch others. Read Kimberly’s homeschool articles.